LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin Postcard 1938
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin Postcard 1938 - Plain postcard, stamped "LUFTSCHIFF GRAF ZEPPELIN, fahrt in der befreite Sudetenland" with a graphic of the Graf Zeppelin in flight, an Air Mail label "MIT LUFTPOST PAR AVION" above, inscribed in ink "Mit Luftschiff, Graf Zeppelin!", postmarked December 1,1938 at Frankfurt, four Third Reich stamps, addressed to "Herrn Alois Kawan, Jagerndorf (Sudentenland), Niederring 7", return addressed "Berlin", personal message on the reverse and partial postmark dated December 4, on card stock, 104 mm x 147 mm, extremely fine. Footnote: LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a German-built and -operated, passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled, rigis airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a "Graf" or Count in the German nobility. During its operating life, the airship made 590 flights covering more than a million miles (1.6 million km). It was designed to be operated by a crew of 36 officers and men. The loss of the D-LZ 129 Hindenburg at Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937 shattered public faith in the safety of hydrogen-filled airships making the continuation of their commercial passenger operations unsustainable unless the Graf Zeppelin and the still under construction LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II could convert to non-flammable helium, the only alternative lifting gas for airships. Unlike the relatively inexpensive and universally available hydrogen, however, the vast majority of the world's available supplies of the much more costly, less buoyant, and harder to produce helium (it is an extracted byproduct of mined natural gas) were controlled by the United States.